Skip to main content

Full text of "Ancient Tragedy for English Audiences: Syllabus of a Course of Twelve ..."

See other formats


This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing tliis resource, we liave taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for in forming people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http: //books .google .com/I 





Otbe Clnn»r^ttp of <rbica0O 





No. 48.— Price, 20 Cts. 




A Ci 







^be ISnitierjtftt? ^zii nf Cbicago 











for each week will be found at the end of the Syllabus. Answers in 
writing, to not more than two questions each week, are invited 
from all persons attending the lectures. They should be sent toj 
Professor Moulton, Hotel Windermere, Cornell av. and 56th st., 
and should arrive at least two days before the following lecture. 
Some signature, with the name of the local centre at which the 
exercise is to be returned^ should be given at the top of the first page. 
The Exercise will be returned, with marginal comments, at the 
Review, the following week, when further explanation of the general 
subject will be given such as the students' exercises seem to call for. 
There will be an examination at the end of the course for studentsi 
desiring to take it ; and any credit given to students for this course 
will be based jointly upon the Exercises and the Examination. 

« •  • * • • 

• • • 

• «■ 

• • • 

• • • 

• • • 

• « r * 

• • • 
•• • • 

• • • • 

• • • • 

• • • 

k, « 

• c 
• • • 


:.;:..:pQOKS . 

:• : : -Ssej>c^ 43, 


• « 

Copyrighted, 1892, by the University of Chicago. 



Two species of Drama stand out prominently in universal lit- 
erature : the Shakespearean and the Ancient Classical. But they 
are so diverse in form that one trained in the Shakespearean will 
need careful preparation before he can appreciate the Ancient 

There are two main distinctions of Ancient Tragedy from the 
Drama familiar to modern readers. 

I. Ancient Tragedy is not (like Shakspearean) pure Drama, 
but a compound of Dramatic and Lyric Poetry in alternate 

Dramatic Scene on stage 

L)rric Ode in orchestra 
Dramatic Scene on stage 

L)rric Ode in orchestra 
Dramatic Scene on stage 

L)rric Ode in orchestra 
Etc. Etc. 

Its proper designation is * Choral Tragedy \ from the * Chorus ' 
who performed the Lyric Odes, and yet were present in the 
Dramatic scenes. 

II. As a consequence of this connection with Lyric Poetry 
the dramatic Plot of Ancient Tragedy is considerably limited 
in its range by certain principles called * the Unities \ 

It is proposed to bring out these two main distinctions of Ancient 
Tragedy by two exercises : 

A. To take a Shakespearean tragedy [pure Drama] and turn 
it into the form of Ancient Tragedy [Drama and Lyric mixed]. 

B. To start from Primitive Poetry [pure Lyric] and see how 
it gradually develops into the mixture of Lyric with Drama. 

Note. The question is often asked : What is exactly the mean- 
ing of * Lyric Poetry ' ? It is enough to answer here that it is 



It is understood that the lecture - studies are intended, not to extend to thi 
general audience the same instruction as that given in the University class rooms 
but rather to stimulate and direct reading and study along the various lines o 
literature, history, and science. I 

University Extension Credit, In the following plan of certificates, the course 
of twelve lecture-studies is taken as the unit. 

The University will, however, continue to offer short courses of six lecture- 
studies whenever local conditions render such courses desirable. 

Students who have attended a course of six lecture-studies, and passed the 
examination at its close, receive a printed statement of the award. 

1 ) The Course Certificate, This is given by the University to students who have 
attended a course of twelve lecture-studies and passed the examination at its 
close. A combination of two six lecture-study courses will be accepted as an 
equivalent to one of twelve only in case the second course is delivered withii^ 
a year of the first, in the same department of study, and on a subject intimJ 
ately connected therewith. 

2) The Subject Certificate, Upon the satisfactory completion of two courses of 
twelve lectures each, both being in the same department of study, a Subject 
Certificate will be awarded. 

3) The Group Certificate, This is given to any student who has earned four 
subject certificates, three of which must be in one department of study, and 
the fourth in another. 

4) The University Certificate, This is given to any student who has taken three 
of the Group Certificates. 

In awarding certificates, account will be taken of the student's work done in 
the weekly exercises, as well as of the result of the examination. 

University Credit, Non-resident work performed in the Lecture-study Depart- 
ment will be accepted by the University and credit given on the following terms : 
(i) The applicant shall present to the University Examiner the University Exten- 
sion Certificate for the work performed. (2) He shall pass a satisfactory examina- 
tion upon the same at the University, or, in case of the academy work, at a regular 
examination conducted by the University. (3) He may not offer for the Bachelor's 
Degree more than one-half of the work required for that degree. (4) He may 
not offer for degrees of B.D. or Ph.D. more than one-third of the work required 
for those degrees. 

In the case of advanced subjects, the examinations for entrance to the University 
shall have been passed, and also such examinations in preliminary subjects as may 
be required for the subject offered. 

Copyrighted, 1893, by the University of Chicago. 

/'■> ..' , " .^'c S.'- ' '' <" -'• 5 


I Recital : Shakespeare*s * Macbeth ' in the fonn of an Ancient Tragedy 

2 Lecture : Origin of Tragedy 
3 Double Recital : i^schylus's Trilogy : * Story of Orestes' 

4 Lecture : The Chorus of Ancient Tragedy 
5 Recital: The *Electra* of Sophocles 

6 Lecture: Ancient Tragedy as the Worship of Destiny 
7 Recital : The * Bacchanals ' of Euripides 

8 Lecture : Various Motives in Ancient Tragedy 
9 Recital: The 'Alcestis* of Euripides 

10 Lecture : Plot in Ancient Tragedy 
1 1 Recital : The ' Electra ' of Euripides 

12 Lecture : Tragedy, Ancient and Modem 


All attending the lectures, whether students or not, are strongly 
advised to read a play a week, according to the following scheme. 
[For books, etc., see page 43.] 

First week: Milton^s Samson Agonistes 
Second week: The Agamemnon of i^schylus (in full translation or in Book 

of Illustrations) 
Third week: The sequel plays to Agamemnon {Sepulchral Rites and 

Gen^lj G4}(idjsses*vaf\kit*'^oc!iko\ IOilstra?ions : called Libation 
AftrfcTSf.r^d '^^jents^s in Plum ptre^s translation) 
Fourth week: The Antigbtie of Sophocles 
Fifth week: ThitJ^lfctra o5 SJoj^hodes' ', y. 
Sixth week: liYit^^Edipus thtKiHg^(}('^yh'^^.s 
Seventh week: The Bacchanals of Euripides 

Eighth week: Euripides' Iphigenia in Aulis and Iphigenia among the Tauri 

read fast as a continuous story 
Ninth, week: The ^/ir^i/i> of Euripides 
Tenth week: The Ion of Euripides 
Eleventh week: The Electra of Euripides 

The 'week* is supposed to begin with the day of lecture. 

» ' » 


in the first meeting with the Witches on the blasted heath (i. i and 3, and 
spirit of 4.1.50-60) — end with 1.3. 123. 

Episode III: A cry that the Queen is dead ; Macbeth laments [as in 5.5.17-28]. A 
Herald appears from the advancing English Army — and bearing the special 
defiance of Macduff to Macbeth (compare 4.3.231 ; 5.7.15) by which it is clear 
that he has escaped from the massacre of his family. Macbeth's confidence 
receives a shock, but he replies with spirit, and there follows the Forensic Contest 
[introducing the spirit of 4. 2 and 3]. 

Ode IV indicates the shadow of turning in the action. [Work in 1.7. 1-12.] 

Episode IV is occupied with a Messenger's Speech: the Scout describes Bimam 
Wood coming to Dunsinane (expansion of 5.4 and 5.5. 29-52). Macbeth goes to 
the fight with a burst of defiance, giving opportunity for Accelerated Rhythm. 
[Spirit of passages like 5.3. i-io; 5.3.32-5; 5.5, i, etc.] 

Ode V: How oracles have misled (compare 3.4.21) — ^Story of Croesus — ^no 
safety except in righteousness. 

Episode V: [Here the addition is made to Shakespeare's version, necessary to 
introduce the catastrophe indirectly.] An English prisoner brought in — conven- 
tional consolation by Chorus : the uncertainty of fate in war — confidence of the 
Chorus,, who rely on the oracle, " None of woman bom," etc. — the prisoner laughs 
their confidence to scorn, and tells the story of Macduff's birth — ^the Chorus in 
consternation proceed to 

Ode VI: The Oracles have paltered with them (compare 5.8.17-22) — deceit of 
heaven — anticipations of ruin. 

Exodus: Corpse of Macbeth brought in — ^lamentations at the defeat (compare 2.3 
96-101) — Plater Macduff enters in triumph and consoles the Chorus : he has 
warred only against the t)rrant (compare 3.6.34-6, 5.8.66.). — The Chorus conclude 
with a strain of pity for their late Chief, but the will of heaven has triumphed and 
delivered their country from wrong : thus a concluding couplet could be found in 


This section is an exercise in literary evolution : to show how 
the primitive form of Poetry, which is Lyric, gradually develops 
into the compound of Lyric and Dramatic, which constitutes 
Ancient Tragedy. 

The Ballad-Dance 

The ultimate poetic form from which all other literary forms 
have gradually differentiated themselves (what may be called * liter- 
ary protoplasm') is the Ballad- Dance, which is a combination of 


Speech, Music and imitative Dancing. [Compare heathen War- 
Dances, and such passages as Exodus xv. 20 ; IL Samuel vi. 14.] 
As a Dance, such a form must be reckoned as Lyric : though it con- 
tains Epic and Dramatic poetry in embryo. 

Primitive worship, military evolutions, sport, all took the form 
of various Ballad-Dances. 

The Dithyramb 
The particular Ballad -Dance from which Tragedy sprang was 
the Dithyramb, that is, the dance used in the festivals of Dionysus 
or Bacchus. It must therefore have been the spirit of these 
festivals which developed the Dithyramb into Drama. 

The Wine-God above all deities would Here we get the germ of Dramatic 
have festivals full of excitement and Passion. 
* enthusiasm.' 

When the Wine-God became the su^ Such changes from gloom to brightness 
preme Nature deity his festivals would constituted the germ of Dramatic Plot 
celebrate the supreme phenomenon of which is founded on change of fortune, 
nature, the loss of the sun in Winter 
and its recovery in Spring. [See In- 
dex : Festivals of Dionysus]. 

A feature of Bacchic festivals was the Here we find a germ of Dramatic 

disguising of the Worshippers to imi- Characterization. 

tate Fawns, N)rmphs, but especially 

Sat3rrs, the mythical companions of 


Thus all the three elements of Drama — Passion, Plot and Char- 
acter — were present in embryo in a Bacchic festival. 

Revolution of Arion and Spirit of Limitation 
The processes of gradual development were interrupted by a 
distinct revolution, the wo^k of an historical personage, Arion 
(B.C. 600). It is technically expressed by saying that the Dithy- 
ramb was made Choral, 

The ' Chorus ' and the ' Comus * were two offshoots of the primitive Bal- 
lad-Dance: both were full L3rric Dances, but in other respects the two 
present a strong contrast. 

The Chorus was (a) confined to an Orchestra («>., dancing-ground) — (b) 
divided into Strophes and Antistrophes [See Index : Strophic] — (c) accom< 
panied with a stringed instrument (the l3rre.) 


The Comus was {a) a Wandering Dance, taking the dancers through a 
whole village — (^) in all respects free and irregular — (c) accompanied with 
wind instruments (flutes). 

The Dithyramb naturally belonged to the class of Comus Dances. 
Arion had influence enough to turn it into a Chorus : keeping the wild en- 
thusiasm of Bacchic subject-matter, but confining the outer form to the 
strictly regular evolutions of a Chorus in an Orchestra. The musical ac- 
companiment was strings for Tragedy and flutes for Comedy. 

Arion may thus be considered the ultimate parent of that strict 
limitation of form which distinguished Greek Tragedy, and 
through it influenced universal literature for so long a period. 

Lyrical Tragedy 

We now reach the name * Tragedy,' which is made up of —edji 
another form of ode, and ^ragt, an old word for Satyrs : thus 
Tragedy is only the * Song of Satyrs.* It has at this point no 
resemblance to modern drama, but is : 

Lyric in form : a story conveyed in descriptive meditation, 
and with elaboration of metre, musical accompaniment and 
dancing evolutions — the performers are a lyric Chorus. 

Dramatic in spirit : distinguished from other Lyric poetry by 
wildness of emotion, and self-abandonment to sympathy 
with the incidents touched, which would tend to break out 
in actual imitation. 

The Dramatic Spirit breaking through the Lyric Form 

The next evolutionary stage is made by various modifications 
of form produced by the struggle between Dramatic spirit and 
limitations of Lyric form. 

I. Semichoric Excitement. — At crit- Thus Dialogue has come into Trag- 
ical points of an ode the Chorus break edy — but at present it is Lyric Dia- 
up into SemichoruseSy expressing their logue. 
agitation by rapid dialogue: then the 
Chorus resumes. — Such Semichoric Dia- 
logue retained as a device for expressing 
excitement in fully developed Greek 



2. Pauses of the dance utilized for Dia- 
logue between the Leader [Exarchus'\ 
and the rest of the Chorus, bringing 
out fresh matter for the Dance to cele- 
brate when it resumes. — A trace of this 
stage is seen in the way the Chorus of 
Greek Tragedy regularly speak of 
themselves in the singular. 

3. Revolution of Thespis (B. C. 535). 
He introduces the Reciters of Epic 
Poetry [called rhabduci or kypocritce'\ 
to carry on the dialogues with the 
Chorus Leader, or with one another. 
Thus Actors (hypocrita) separate from 
Chorus, and Stage from Orchestra. — 
This leaves a trace in fully developed 
tragedy in the (Epic) Messenger's 

4. The number of Actors increases — 
costume and scenery adapted to parts 
— and the Dialogue obtains [from Sa- 
tjrric Poetry] the Blank Verse which 
is midway between Lyric metre and 

5. By a silent revolution [of which there 
is no trace in the histories] the Chorus 
exchanged Bacchic costume for cos- 
tume suitable to the plot. 

Tragedy now bifurcates with L)rric 
Odes and Dramatic Dialogue alternat- 
ing — but the Dramatic Dialogue is 
a subordinate function of the Lyric 

There are now separate places and sep< 
arate performers for the Lyric and Dra- 
matic elements of tragedy. 

This stage is a strengthening of the 
Dramatic Element at the expense of 
the L}rric. 

By this revolution the Lyric Element, 
the Chorus, was itself dramatized — so 
that the evolution of Tragedy is com- 

Ancient Tragedy Fully Developed 
J. The evolution thus traced explains how Greek Tragedy when 
fully developed was a union 

of Lyric 'Choral Odes* — performed by a * Chorus' in the 

'Orchestra' round the Altar of Bacchus — in *Strophic' form; 

and Dramatic 'Episodes' — by 'Actors' on the 'Stage' in what 

may be called ' Blank verse ' ; 
with the Chorus as the bond between the two : having organic 
connection with the Dramatic Story [as the hero's confi- 
dants, or a body of bystanders, etc.], and taking part in 
the Dramatic Episodes [by their Coryphaeus or Foreman] — 
while the Lyric portions they had wholly to themselves. 
2. Tragedy in Greece was thus not an amusement, but a National 
B*estival, and regarded as part of the worship of Bacchus. 



Genealogical Table 

Ballad- Dance 



Verse tending to- 
wards Blank 


Foil Lyric Sta- 
tionary Dance 


FuU Lyric Wand- 
ering Dance 


Lyrical Tragedy 

Lyrical Tragedy with 
Semichoric Dialogue 

Lyrical Tragedy with 
Dramatic Episodes 

Tragedy with separate 
Chorus and Actors, 
Orchestra and Stage 



Epic with 
Double Recit- 
ers [Hypo- 

Tragedy with separate 
Actors and Stage; and 
Blank Verse for Dra- 
matic parts 

Attic Tragedy com- 
pleted by dramatiza- 
tion of Chorus. 














H 3 



ujW ^ os; ^ ii^ s »^ f>i ^; tN 


woo r* 
^ '^ ^ 


il . 










•3 o 

•^ s 

o 3 



rj i/i o 

PQ ^ ^ 










.■■4 O 






o 3 





^ rv. 



•^ o 

*0 On 
ZS «^ On 

PQ »o ^ 







CO -S 

09 CO CO .M 






^ il 

00 w 


si • 

^ 3 S 

M QO >0 



iSl lit 

I- ll si 1^11 sj ill 

|i« II ill 1||llisi|||iil 
"ll. ''^ III iiisl liliJ- 
ili I if? siki^ m 31 




a Zs^S ^o-SK |i,:E'§£ a.S£ ai \ 

j^!! Ill 

S||| -a ilj 


^■^*- ill im m 



it^l|= ft tjUii i IPi^i 

iNi?'lf-!l-s!l:i Slfil 







The Lyric (or Operatic) Element in Ancient Tragedy needs 
special study as that which distinguishes this species from the 
Drama familiar to modern readers. 


The Chorus is the common point between the dramatic and 
lyric elements, being the performers of the latter, and having a 
subordinate part in the former. Its function has been described as 
that of * Ideal Spectators.' 

Spectators in the Drama : 

Compare the modem use of crowds, and confidants — ^the Chorus go to the 
verge of action but stop short {Agamemnon from 1629). 

Spectators of the Drama : 

The Chorus stands for the audience in the theatre — is made to go through 
the feelings the dramatist wishes to inspire — is made to recall and des- 
cribe lyrically portions of the story that cannot be acted. [Compare 
choi;aIes in Oratorip'J ' ' - '* ^ T .: . ; 

Xfhcral Xid€s 

* * i 

The GhorAlOdeS' iritroduce us to.*Ancient Lyric Poetry. The 
modern^yric^TOOstiamiuar are the Psalms of the Bible : to com- 
pare these with the Odes is a profitable line of study. 

1. As to Form : 

Choral Odes are always performed in character [as hero's friends, 
etc.] — only occasionally are the Psalms composed for any par- 
ticular personages [e.g., King and People, Psalm xx]. 

The Psalms are antiphonal in single verses — the odes in whole 

2. As to Matter : 

A Psalm is a poem complete in itself — a Choral Ode is only a 
single point in the action of a poem rendered lyrically. 



J. Choral Odes may be simply classified. 

a Odes of Situation : conveying the state of affairs as they stand 
between the scene just concluded and the following scene. — 
A good example is Agamemnon 948, or opening Ode of 

There are Psalms of Situation in the Bible (compare xviii, or superscrip- 
tion to lix). But often a biblical psalm conveys twosituatioBSf and is thus a 
complete drama in itself (Psalm Ivii). 

b Odes of Reflection ; especially on Human Life. Examples are 
Odes on Man as a Wonder of Nature (-4«A^^«^ 332) — on Love 
(Antigone 782). 

With the former compare Psalm viii. 

c Ritual Odes : like the Spell of the Furies in the Gentle 
Goddesses — the Sepulchral Rites in the play of that name — 
the Hymn to Bacchus (Antigone 1115). 

Ritual Psalms are Ixviii a Processional Ode — cxviii Thanksgiving Hymn 
for Worshipper and two Choruses. 

d Narrative Odes : introducing portions of the story outside the 
unities. Examples are the first three of Agamemnon — or An- 
tigone 944. 

Narrative Psalms are such as Ixxviii or cv— compare Judges v or 
Exodus XV. 

Chorus Work in Episodes 

1. In Episodes the Chorus usually drop their lyric functions 
altogether, and take part in the dialogue through their Foreman, 
who uses Blank Verse. 

2. But at suitable points of the Episodes the whole scene is 
attracted to lyric metres (which would mean singing instead of 
reciting) : these are called * Stage Lyrics,* and are two-fold : 

The Lyric Solo [* Monody '] by an Actor alone. 

The Lyric Concerto ['Kommos'] by an Actor (or pair of 
Actors) and the Chorus alternately. 

The two are illustrated near the commencement of the EUctra of Sopho- 
cles (67'-25o) — and the Lyric Concerto in the Sepulchral Sites {Episode I). 


Metrical Variations 

Owing to its connection with the L)rric Chorus, and to certain 
other circumstances, Ancient Tragedy has a great variety of Metri- 
cal Styles, the variations between which are a powerful engine for 
reflecting variations of feeling and movement. 

1. Blank Verse [* iambic senarius *] the metre of English Blank Verse with 
the adddition of a sixth foot. 

2. Parallel verse [* stichomuthic *] : remark and answer of identical length— 
generally one line each [examples in Euripides* Etectra, Episode I].— 
sometimes sustained for lOO lines together [Ion 256] — ^sometimes two lines 
each, or half a line each, or each a line and a half [Sophocles* Electro, 
Episode III]. — Parallel Verse was much favored by Shakespeare in his 
earlier plays : especially Richard III, 2.2. and 4.4. 

3. Accelerated Rhythm [* trochaics *] : for sudden bursts of dialogue. The 
exact metre is suitable to English, and is given in Illustrations, No. 3. 

4. Marching Rhythm [more or less ' anapaestic *] : much used in Chorus- 
entries, e, g,, Agamemnon, The Greek metre does not adapt well to Eng- 
lish, and is usually changed by translators. For a close imitation, see 
Parode of Alcestis in Book of Illustrations. 

5. L3rrics : with unlimited variations of metre in successive lines. 

6. Antiphonal L3Tics [' strophe and antistrophe *] : in Choral Odes and Lyric 

7. Semichoric Excitement : where the Chorus breaks up into Semichoruses, 
and often (Agamemnon, finale) into more numerous divisions. 

8. Mixed Verse : consisting of Blank Verse answered by Ljrrics, or vice versa 
[Eumenides 748 — 852 in Plumptre's translation]. 

The literary importance of these metres lies, not in the metres 
themselves (which have only an antiquarian interest), but in the 
transitions from one to another as a means of conveying transitions 
of mood and feeling. — Unfortunately this effect is almost wholly 
lost in the cheap translations, which usually translate all outside 
Choral Odes in Blank Verse. 

The variations have been traced m the finale to Agamemnon (Illustrations), 
— ^Episode I of Sepulchral Rites gives an example of lyrics calming down 
into blank verse — Alcestis dying in l3rrics rallies in blank verse (Episode I 
in Illustrations). 

Especially powerful is the transition to accelerated rhythm in the hands of 
Euripides: an example is given in Illustrations, No. 4; another in Bat- 
chanals (page 25), bringing out the surprise of the miraculous deliverance. 


[In neither case does the English translator use trochaic verse: but the 
efiEect of the change is the same]. 

The effect has descended to the modern stage in a different form, 
(i) There is a faint trace in Shakespeare's early plays of a similar 
use of lyrics and blank verse {e. g,, Midsummer- Nighf s Dream, in 
which the rhymed verses are an approach to lyrics), but it was soon 
abandoned in favor of the more powerful interchange of verse and 
prose. [The Tempest is a good play in which to trace this.J — (2) 
Dramas like Goethe's Faust use a large variety of metres. — (3) But 
Music has taken up the position of the ancient Choric Art, and the 
true analogue to scenic lyrics is found in the orchestral accompani- 
ment to spoken words [e, g,y Mendelssohn's Antigone, page 48, etc.]. 




The main thought is Destiny. 

Destiny appears as an Abstract Force : The Irresistible 
[* Adrasteia '] or Necessity [* AnangW *]. — The * Irony of Fate' 
is a measure of its irresistibility. 

There is an Ode to Necessity in AlcesHs (1018-1075). ^^r 
the * Irony of Fate ' the (Edipus King is a magnificent study. 

The idea of Destiny passed (i) on the one hand into that of 
Providence [design more prominent than irresistibility] — and 
(2) on the other band into that of Fortune [motiveless control 
of events]. 

Two plays will bring out these two stages : the Ion [especiaUy note the 
incident of the dove] — and Iphigenia among the Tauri [the ship is acci- 
dentally beaten back]. — ^Also note Illustration No. 7, and compare below, 
page 26 : the Pendulum Plot. 

Destiny appears as the great moral sanction. 
It is identified with Retribution [* Dik€ ']. 

Odes in Agamemnon^ and especially EUctra (of Sophocles) 472. 

But especially : the idea of Destiny combines with that of 
Retribution and also with the further idea of Reaction : we 
thus get the leading dramatic interest of ' Judicial Blindness,' 
or better, ' Infatuation and Nemesis.' 

This interest dominates Agamemnon^ especially 726-756 ; and stiU more 
(Edipus King, — Compare the Spell of the Furies in the Gentle GodtUssei^ 
especially 351-9. — ^The shrinking from this infatuation seems to constitute 
the * conscience * of a Greek Chorus. 

The idea of Destiny interchanges with that of Deity. [Illus. No. 10] 

Destiny appears as something beyond Deity {Prometheus 523). 



Or Destiny is identified with Deity. 

iEschylus regularly identifies Destiny and Zeus.— 'Also compare the 
' Divine Intervention ' (below page 26). 

Deity passes into Humanity Enlarged. [Illustrations, No. 5.] 

This is the Homeric conception of Deity, and extensively followed by 
Euripides : note his Prologues and Divine Interventions (e.g., Ion), — It also 
figures in the Gentle Goddesses, 

Hence we get Rationalism, or Criticism of Deity. 

See Illustrations, Nos. 6, 7, 8. — Sometimes it is not the gods themeeWes, 
but accepted ideas of them, which are condemned (Illustrations, No. 9). — 
The I(m is a remarkable study of rationalism. 

Destiny revealed : Interest of Mystic Revelation clearing. 

Oracles : revelation direct from Deity, or by inspiration. 

A great study for the Oracular Action is the (Edifius King, — ^Dreams sure 
one source of revelation: ^/r^/ra, etc.^ Madness was a mode df inspira- 
tion: Cassandra. 

Prophecy, Soothsaying, Augury : revelation through an order 
of specially trained men. 

Calchas in Agamemnon, Teiresias in Antigone, etc. 

Omen : Destiny self -revealed by accident. 

Especially Ion (i 202-1 263) — several cases in Agamemnon, particularly 
the naming of Agamemnon and of Orestes (12 16, 1624). 

Destiny set in motion by man. 

Erinnyes and Ate : objective and subjective conception of 
Destiny as called into action by human crime. 

See Spell of the Erinnyes (Gentle Goddesses 311 ; also Illustrations, No. 
12). With this is connected the powerful conception of a fate«haunted 
house [whole of the trilogy, and compare Ode in Antigone 582]. 

Similarly, Destiny can be controlled and evaded. 

The common confusion of foreseeing with controlling the future appears 
in Helena, page 227 — and deity is threatened in Iphigenia ofwrng the 
Tauri 1039. 


Interest of Horror 

This includes supernatural horror: Furies, Ghosts; Death 
appears as a personage in Alcestis, — Natural horrors: Banquet of 
Atreus, Incest, Matricide. [The remoteness of the mythic stories 
from ordinary humanity neutralizes the grossness of such ideas.]— 
Madness and Delirium : Cassandra. 

Especially important are Human Sacrifices : Iphigenia {Aga- 
memnon 211-241) — this interest is in Euripides utilized to bring out 
another interest, that of Voluntary Self -Sacrifice. Alcestis and 
Iphigenia in Aulis are plays founded on this. 

Interest of Splendor 

Supernatural Splendor of which Apollo is the type — also com- 
pare Artemis in the Gentle Goddesses and 'Divine Interventions' 

With this connect Worship of Hospitality : on this Alcestis is 
founded (see below, page 32). 

But the most startling feature of ancient life is the elevation of 
orgiastic license into a religious duty in connection with the wor- 
ship of Bacchus. See below, page 30, notes on the Bacchanals of 


The Idealization of Life 

1. Pomp : the size of the ancient stage, and the national char- 
acter of the Festival gave scope for military and funeral pomp on 
the grandest scale: compare the trilogy all through, and the 
Bacchanals of Euripides. 

2. Realism : incidentally a lyric glow can be cast over homely 
things, especially in Euripides. 

3. Sentiments : Family Tie (Antigone) — Friendship (Orestes an 
Py lades, especially in Iphigenia among the Tauri, page 217-222)- 
Politics (in the trilogy, etc.) — Social sentiments : the alleged woman 
hate of Euripides. 



It is the more important to understand the Unities, etc., as 

accidental limitations of Ancient Tragedy, because the criticism of 

the Renaissance misinterpreted them as principles binding Drama 

for all time. 


The forces limiting the freedom of plot in Greek Tragedy were 
three : (i) The Chorus, (2) The Theatre, (3) in a less degree, The 
Rhetorical bias of the Athenian people. 

Influence of the Chorus 

The Chorus was the unity-bond in an Ancient Tragedy, as being 
common • to the Lyric and Dramatic elements. Its influence 
limited the plot to the * three Unities *. 

a The Chorus from their entry were regularly present to the end 
— this continuous presence through scenes and interludes 
reduces the whole play to one unbroken scene. This involves 
the Unity of Place j which carries with it the Unity of Time. 

b The Chorus are attached as confidants to one party in the play, 
and the whole (except the prologue) takes place in their pres- 
ence. Hence the Unity of Action (or Story) : a second Story 
would have involved a second Chorus, a thing which actually 
is found in Roman Tragedy. 

These Unities then were due to the connection of Drama with 
Lyric Poetry, and have no significance in pure Drama. 

Influence of the Theatre and Representation 

On this subject the student must distinguish what is essential 
for following the Drama and its development from what has only 
an antiquarian interest. 

a The Theatre was open, and large enough to contain the whole population 
of a city — the stage and scene of stone : hence its fixity of arrangement. 



[The permanent Scene was an elaborate f a9ade of a palace, but this could 
be concealed behind movable scenery — there was a Central and two In- 
ferior Doors in the fa9ade.] The Stage was a narrow stone platform run- 
ning the length of the Scene : of the doors at each end the one on the 
left indicated distance, the other neighborhood. — Considerably lower than 
the Stage was the huge Orchestra, with the Altar of Dionysus ( Thymele) in 
the centre, and two Archways for entrance (Parodt), as with the Stage.— 
A flight of steps connected the Stage and Orchestra, and was continued 
out of sight in the 'Steps of Charon* [for ghosts, etc.]. — Very little ma- 
chinery. Turn -scenes [Periactt], prism -shaped side ^scenes which 
turned on a pivot to produce the (rare) changes of scene — Roller -stage 
[Eccyclema'\y a contrivance by which an Interior was rolled out from the 
Central Door — and the Machina [whence the proverbial Deus ex macAind], 
a crane - like contrivance for swinging out a Deity, who would thus appear 
in mid air. 

d The Costume maintained a Bacchic brilliance and dignity of proportions : 
especially the buskin {cothurnus), a thick shoe for increasing the height 
of the actor, and which has become a synonym for Tragedy — this and 
the masks (worn by all actors, and probably by the Chorus) were t3rpical, 
not individual. 

c The jDe/ivety was conventional rather than realistic— ^ owing to acoustic 
difficulties a vocal apparatus was fitted to the masks ^ thus delivery was a 
sort of intoning, and the gesticulation of actors rhythmical rather than 

d The mode of bringing out tragedies assisted to maintain the spectacular 
character of the whole performance — this was by voluntary Choregi or 
Chorus - providers [wealthy Athenians who undertook to provide the magis- 
trates with the expenses of so many Choruses — the magistrates then 
assigned these to the poets who made application, and with the Chorus 
went all the other expenses] — there was great competition in display 
between these Choregi. 

e The number of actors was confined to two, later three [Protagonist, Deuter- 
agonist, Tritagonist\ and in a few plays four : but this merely means that 
there could not be more than that number of speaking personages on the 
stage together at any one time. Each of the three would take several 
different parts in different scenes. — There could be any number of mute 
personages on the stage. — Occasionally we get * Secondary Choruses,* that 
is, lyrics are written for a group of personages on the stage \e»g^, the Ritual 
Hymn for Chorus of Athenian Women at conclusion of the trilogy]. 

When to these details is added the fact that Tragedy never ceased to 
be a solemn Religious and National Festival, the following influences 


on Drama from its representation will be readily understood. 

a Encouragement to spectacular display. 

d Limitation on subject matter. This was confined to the sacred 
myths, and progress toward real life was slow. — Thus Surprise 
was eliminated as a dramatic effect — but great scope was given 
for the effect of Irony [ignorance of the sequel on the part of 
the personages represented clashing with knowledge of it on 
the part of the audience]. 

The use of masks greatly limited characterization. 

d General * conventionality.' 

Modern Drama is 'picturesque': Ancient Tragedy was 'sculptur- 
esque.* Its action was a dignified movement from one piece of 
sculpturesque grouping to another. 

Influence of Rhetoric 

A peculiar idiosyncrasy of the Athenian people was its bias 
towards Rhetoric and forensic proceedings, fostered by the Jury 
Courts which occupied so much of the citizens' time, and procured 
no small income for the poorer citizens. This has left traces in 
Greek Drama. 

a Rheses, or set rhetorical speeches, abound. (Illustrations, Nos. 1, 2)* 

b SHchomuihic \pr Parallel] Dialogue. [Above page 18.] 

c T%e Forensic Contest, combining [a) and {b\ In the plays of Euripides, 
less markedly in those of Sophocles, there is a scene answering to this title 
in which representatives of the hero and his opponents are brought together, 
and discuss their respective cases with a formality that is forensic rather 
than dramatic. The scene regularly contains one elaborate Rhesis on each 
side [often of exactly the same length : compare the use of the water-clock 
in Athenian law - courts], the Chorus acting as moderators; and these 
are usually followed by Parallel Dialogue suggestive of cross-examination. 
A normal case would be that in Alcestis, Episode III. 

d The abundance of Gnomic Verses, especially in Euripides, is perhaps due 
to the influence of Rhetoric. (Illustrations, Nos. 22--9.) 

As at such points dramatic effect is suspended for a time to give 
opportunity for rhetorical interest, so at one point of a tragedy 
dramatic effect is suspended in favor of Epic interest. This is the 
Messenger's Speech* 


Examples are: Fatal Chariot Kact (£lecfra oi Sophocles 680) — Assassina- 
tion at a Sacrifice (EUctra of Euripides, Episode III) — Ion page 88— 
Bacchanals, pages 27 and 37 — Iphigenia among the Tauri, pages 208 and 


As determined by such influences the plots of Ancient Tragedy 
fall into two main types. 

1. Passion - Plot : resting upon the development of tragic situa- 
tions — either single situations {Agamemnon) — or development 
between one situation and another (thus the second play of 
the trilogy begins with woe and ends in triumph, Antigoru 
begins in triumph and ends in woe). 

2. Action -Plot: founded upon Complication and Resolution. 

a A single Complication and its Resolution {Ion). 

b The Pendulum Plot : an extension of the last. The Reso- 
lution is again complicated by some perverse turn of Fortune: 
this later complication is usually solved by the * Miraculous 
Close' or * Divine Intervention ' \peus ex Machin&\, Example: 
Iphigenia among the Tauri. 

The same distinction is to be traced in the Elizabethan Drama 
between Tragedy (which is Passion - Drama) and what is most impro- 
perly called Comedy : plays like Measure for Measure and Merchant 
of Venice are not Comedies but Action - Dramas. 

J J 



As a peculiar species of the Universal Drama Greek Tragedy 
reaches its climax in Sophocles — with Euripides begins the progress 
towards normal dramatic characteristics. 


The structure of Euripidean plays shows tendencies towards 
departure from both the main characteristics of Ancient Tragedy. 

Instability of the Chorus 
It is a mistake to describe Euripides as neglecting the choral 
element in his plays. But under his treatment the instability of 
the Chorus as between dramatic and lyric functions become more 
apparent — in some plays they pass more and more into the dra- 
matic action {Bacchanals) — in others their odes show a tendency to 
become mere lyric interludes (compare first two odes of Electray 
which are only formally connected with the action of the play at 

their close). 

The Unities Breakine Down 

I. Approach to Multiple Action. In spite of the Chorus 
Euripides makes an approach to the modern multiplication of 
stories in two ways. 
a Agglutination, A second story is added as a continuation of 
the main story, centering around the same personages and 
Chorus. (Example : Electra!) 
b There is a slight advance towards Underplot by the rise in the 
dramatic scale of inferior personages. Compare Chrysothemis 
in the Electra of Sophocles (embryonic) with the Peasant in the 
Electra of Euripides (complete underplot). 
2. Mixture of Tones. — Besides the three Unities, there was 
another: the limitation to a single tone, tragic plays being wholly 
distinct from comic. 



Greek Tragedies were produced in sets of three, concluding with a Bur- 
lesque called Safyric Drama, One of these Satyric Dramas has been pre- 
served : see 7^ Cyclops^ in the Book of Illustrations. 

The Alcestis was composed as a substitute for Satyric Drama, but 
was not well received — it anticipates the mingling of light and 
serious matter in modern plays. 

3. With Mixture of Tones the Action-Plot, founded on the 
setting up of a complication for the sake of resolving it, is naturally 
connected — a good example of their mingling is the Iphigenia 
among the Tauri. — Euripides appears to be the inventor of both, 
and thus has anticipated the main features of modern plot. 


The general spirit of Euripides' plays, so far as they are distinct 
from those of his predecessors, may be described as a Widening of 
Human Interest. 

1. At its earliest period the matter of Tragedy was connected 
always with Dionysus. Under iSschylus it has enlarged to take 
in all heroic life — Sophocles widens it further to human life in the 
type — Euripides makes the great advance in indimduality and 
realism, [His portrayal of domestic life was considered a grave 
fault by the citizens of his age.] 

2. So the tone of -^schylus is tragic of the religious order. 
Sophocles leans to tragic in the dramatic sense, resting not so much 
on ideas of fate, hereditary curse, etc., as on the working out of 
plot. Under Euripides the tone widens to include human interest 
in general, e.g,^ tragic of the pathetic order, or serious as distin- 
guished from tragic (the tragic end being averted), and widens still 
further to the mixture of tones. 


In Three Ver8i<m8 

Version of JEachjlus 

Here the story is distributed over three plays, and is thus more 
fully dramatized than in the other cases. The dramatic interest is 
subordinated to two other interests : 
a Religious Brooding on Man in his relation to Fate — whether 
the brooding be in the form of actual meditations, or conveyed 
concretely in events. 
d The Idealization of Life. 

Versions of Sophocles and Euripides 
The play called Elecira presents only the middle part of the 
whole story, and of this part Electra, rather than Orestes, is the 
centre of interest — for the purpose of comparison it may be 
divided into four stages ; (i) The return of Orestes to Argos ; (2) 
the elaboration of the situation out of which Electra is to be deliv- 
ered; (3) the gradual recognition of brother and siscer ; (4) the 
conspiracy against iEgisthus and Clytemnestra. 

Sophocles' Version Euripides' Version 

Euripides adds a new element to the 
story: a Peasant, nominal husband of 
Electra. This changes the whole scene 
to one of rustic poverty, and the Peasant 
is the centre of a thread of realism 
running through the whole play. 

Orestes and Pylades return: Orestes (i) Orestes and Pylades return: Orestes 
lays ofEerings on his father's tomb; re- (i) lays ofiEerings on his father's tomb; 
ports oracle that he must act by strata- (2) reports oracle that he must act 
gem, not force. — Tutor, who rescued without entering the city, 
him in infancy, accompanies him. 




Situation elaborated by Stage Lyrics: 
£lectra*s Monody, and Lyric Concerto 
with Chorus of Maidens. 

Recognition of Orestes and Electra: 
artistically delayed by various scenes, 
all playing upon the opposite passions 
of hope and fear with reference to the 
return of Orestes — ^until recognition 
takes place at moment of greatest des- 

Conspiracy against vEgisthus and Cly- 
temnestra : one intrigue secures admis- 
sion to the palace, and both are slain. 

Situation elaborated as in Sophocles' 
Version, but in hearing of Orestes con- 
cealed — ^his sob disturbs and leads to 
following section. 

Recognition delayed by two other in- 
terests introduced: (i) interest of hos- 
pitable poverty ; (2) of faithful old age 
— until all three unite in a common 
climax : the old Tutor, coming on a 
hospitable mission, brings about the 
recognition that saves all. 

Two distinct intrigues against i^gis- 
thus and Clytemnestra respectively, by 
which both are slain. 

Comparing the two : we find that in Sophocles Dramatic interest is 
supreme : all other interests are subordinated to Plot, that is, the 
artistic moulding of Story. — In Euripides : the Human Interest is 
the main purpose, and to meet the larger volume of Human Inter- 
est the Plot becomes complex. 


Structurally, this play presents nothing unusual. Its spirit and 
matter are highly interesting as an embodiment of Bacchic enthu- 

I. On the one hand the Bacchic spirit is identified with all that is 
good : with the wisdom of age (Episode I), law, conservatism, an- 
cestral faith [as opposed to the subtle reasoning which undermines], 
patriotism (Episode I) — thus identified with the spirit of sanctity 
(Ode I), the hallowed life of worshippers initiated and purified by 
baptism (Parode), the sacred labor which is no toil and for which 
(Parode) there is god-given strength [while the opposition is pre- 
sented as sacrilege and violation of mysteries] — hence calm 
reliance on Divine protection, made good by perpetual miracle and 
long- foreseeing providence — identified thus with the calmly reverent 
life, domestic harmony, and (Ode I) peace, with the wealth of rich 
and poor alike [while the opposition is associated with visible in- 
fatuation and the irony of fate] — thus connected (Ode I) with the 
spirit of simplicity, the life from day to day, and the homely wis- 


lom of the multitude — its gifts are on a level with the food of Ceres 
(Teiresias in Episode I) — from Bacchus come the feast, dance, 

f laughter, sparkle of wit, prophecy, consolation in sorrow, panic for 
the foe, and sleep itself — associated with the open-air life of nature 
(note opposition of *city agitator') and a glorified nature where 
miracle reigns (compare Isaiah's Holy Mountain). 

2. On the other hand the Bacchic spirit is plainly identified by 
Euripides with evil : the life of the Maenads is impure (Prologue), 
though made to appear otherwise to Thebes, the god using impurity 
as a mode of punishment — heathen cruelty of the god in avenging 
a slight inspired by zeal for purity, and delighting in the task. 

3. Thus the root idea of the play is not a palinode in which Euri- 
pides is returning to belief in divinity [his rationalism is a denial of 
divine attributes, not of divine existence] — but ^. sinking back from 
rationalism into the regular undercurrent of Greek speculation, 
which acquiesced in the idea of human life as an insoluble tangle of 
irresistible destiny [compare * chain of ruin '] — where holiness and 
law are on both sides of the struggle any rebellion is impiety, and 
there is only a partial escape in life according to nature, in which 
again enquiry must not go too far. 


This popular play is often entirely misunderstood by modern 
readers — the misinterpretation has unfortunately been embodied in 
Robert Browning's poem, Balaustion^s Adventure, However beauti- 
ful this poem, it is nevertheless an entire misrepresentation of Euri- 
pides' play. 

The matter in dispute is the character of Admetus. The modern 
reader who is not on his guard reads the story thus : that a Husband 
(Admetus) is allowed by Fate to die by substitute, and, no other 
substitute being willing, his wife Alcestis dies and saves him. On 
this view Admetus appears selfish to accept such a sacrifice. Against 
such a reading of the story are the following considerations. 

I. All the personages in the play treat Admetus as a sublimely 
generous man ; Apollo (prologue), the Chorus (589-636) who 
represent the poet and public opinion, and especially Hercules 
(880-919) who is himself the type of labor and sacrifice for others — 


the only exception to this is Pheres, who is by all the other 
personages held responsible for the selfishness charged against 

2. That some substitute for Admetus must be found is taken for 
granted throughout the play. 

a Admetus represents the State : all Ancient Ethics is founded 
on the absolute sacrifice of the individual to the State. 

b Admetus embodies the Religion of Hospitality (in the Ancient 
sense of self-effacement for the guest) — Alcestis dies to "save 
the cause." 

This connection of the story with Apollo and the Religion of Hospitable 
splendor pervades the whole play : the opening situation is founded upon 
it (Apollo's interference with Fate) — it appears at the turning point (Epi* 
sode Ily compare following Ode) — it is the cause (through Hercules) of the 
final deliverance. — Browning seems altogether to ignore it. 

c The substitution is apparently a part of Fate : it is so regarded 
by Alcestis (page 19 line 29) — compare Chorus (pages 39-41; 
page 15) — on this view the passage commencing page 11 line 
19 is Admetus's effort to save Alcestis. 

3. The idea that the parents were the proper substitutes is in 
strict accordance with Greek ideas. Alcestis thinks so (page 19 
line 20) — and the Chorus (bottom of page 24). 

4. The alleged confession of sin by Admetus is a mistake: he 
speaks throughout of his loss not of any sin (especially the speech 
beginning page 38 line 8). 

The true motive of the play is the struggle between an ideal of 
Public Life, Hospitable Splendor, and an ideal of Private Life, 
Domestic Love. At the beginning the former is supreme — grad- 
ually the love gains ground and * the cause * loses — in the final 
episode love is supreme — then the finale restores both. The story 
as moulded by Euripides has an advantage over the story as 
moulded by Browning, viz., that Euripides makes Alcestis sacrifice 
herself for a husband who is worthy of her. 


1. Read MiltotCs Samson Agonistes, Send in any remarks or 

2. Make a structural outline of Samson, similar to that of Macbeth 

on page 7. 


1. Read the Agamemnon of yEschyius either in the Book of Illustra- 
tions or in jPlumptre, Send in any remarks or questions, 

2. Show how Ancient Worship was dramatic. Would you consider 
it advantageous or otherwise to introduce a dramatic element 
into modern worship ? 

3. Explain the terms strophe and antistrophe, and the difference 
between Chorus and Camus, 


1. Read the remaining two plays of ^schylus*s trilogy , either in the 
Book of Illustrations or in Plumptre. Send in any remarks or 

2. Trace through the Agamemnon the continued foreshadowing of a 

3. What is the dramatic purpose served by the introduction of 
Cassandra ? 

4. Show how Orestes serves as a link between the three plays of the 



1. Read the Antigone of Sophocles, Send in remarks or questions. 

2. Point out, with examples, resemblances and differences between 
Classic Odes and Biblical Psalms. 

Suppose a play of Shakespeare to be acted with biblical psalms 
sung by a choir between the scenes : how would such a per- 
formance differ in form from a classical tragedy? 

3. Illustrate, from the Antigone or other play, how a Greek Chorus 
are (a) spectators in the drama, (^) spectators of the drama. 




4. Quote a few lines illustrating each of the metrical styles enumer- 
ated on page 18. 


1. Read the Electra of Sophocles. Send in remarks or questions. 

2. Describe and illustrate * Stage Lyrics.' What is there analogous 
to these in modern Drama ? 

3. Show {a) the purpose served by the introduction of Chrysothemis 
— {b) the different treatment of Clytemnestra's dream by 
iEschylus and Sophocles. 

4. Bring out the Dramatic Irony in the finale of Sophocles* Electra, i 


1. Read the * (Edipus the King* of Sophocles. Send in any remarks 
or questions. 

2. Show what in Greek religious ideas held the position which in 
ours is occupied by Providence. 

3. Illustrate from the (Edipus the Irony of Fate, Infatuation, the 
use of Oracles as dramatic motives. 

4. Explain briefly the following technical terms : cithara, coryphcmsy 
cothurnusy exarchuSy hypocrites, rhapsodist, tragi, prologue. 


1. Read * The Bacchanals* of Euripides. Send in any remarks or 

2. Would you consider The Bacchanals rightly described as a glori- 
fication of intoxication ? Show how the poet engages our sym- 
pathies on both sides of the struggle. 

3. Describe The Bacchanals as a dramatic spectacle. 

4. Explain briefly the following technical terms : episode, stage-epi- 
sode, epode, exodus, mesode, par ode, proem, stasimon, thymele. 


1. Read the * Iphigenia in Aulis* and ^ Iphigenia among the TaurV of 
Euripides as a continuous story. Send in any remarks or ques- 

2. Show how differently the idea of Human Sacrifices is treated by 
-^schylus and by Euripides. 

3. Explain ' The Idealization of Life ' as a dramatic motive. 


4. Explain the following technical terms : Choregi, eccyclema, peri- 
acti^ proscenium^ steps of Charon, Deus ex machindj Ati, Erinnyes. 


1. Read the Alcestis of Euripides, Send in any remarks or questions* 

2. Bring out Euripides' conception of Hercules, and describe the 
part he plays in the drama. 

3. Discuss the character of Admetus. 

4. Explain the technical terms Satyric Drama, Mixture of Tones. 


1. Read the Ion of Euripides. Send in any remarks or questions, 

2. Imagine yourself a modem spectator in an Ancient Athenian 
tragic celebration : describe (as in a familiar letter or communi- 
cation to a newspaper) any peculiarities in the building, actors, 
and general performance, which would be likely to strike you. 

3. Describe the Ion as a specimen of Action - plot, and some other 
play as a specimen of Passion - plot. 

4. Explain the following technical terms : The three Unities, Rhesis, 
Forensic Contest, Stichomuthic, Messenger^ s Speech. 


1. Read the EUctra of Euripides. Send in any remarks or questions. 

2. Point out the dramatic effects produced by Euripides' addition 
of the Peasant to the story. 

3. Compare the Clytemnestra of iEschylus, Sophocles, and 

4- Select some Scripture story, and sketch an outline of an Ancient 
Tragedy on the subject. 



For the Student to Select from for farther study 


The Mythology embodied in Ancient Poetry 

As a text book : Keightley's Classical Alythology (Bohn) — But the study oj 
the text-book should be accompanied with some working up of the myths ii 
literary form ; e.g. Ruskin's Queen of the Air, Kingsley's Heroes (Macmillan), Mt 
Lewis Morris's Epic of Hades. Several of the tales in Mr. Morris's Earthly Par 
adise are of this nature ; e.g. * The Doom of King Acrisius,' ' Cupid and Psyche.' 

English Classics bearing upon Ancient Literature 

1. Robert Browning's Balaustion's Adventure and 'The Love of Alcestis/ \i 

William Morris's Earthly Paradise to be read with the Alcestis of Euripidc^ 
Longfellow's Golden Legend might be added as a study of a similar situation 
in Christian surroundings. ' 

2. William Morris's Life and Death of Jason, to be read with the Media of Euripj 

ides. Several of the tales in his Earthly Paradise are classical in thei^ 
subjects : e.g. *The Doom of King Acrisius/ * Cupid and Psyche,' * Atalanta'^ 
Race,' * The Death of Paris,' ' The Golden Apples.* , 

3. Mrs. Browning's Prometheus Bound (translation from iEschylus) and Shelley'i 

Prometheus Unbound, ' 

4. Ruskin's Queen of the Air, Kingsley's Heroes, Lewis Morris's Epic of Hadet^ 

dealing generally with ancient mythology. i 

5. Milton's Samson Agonistes, 

6. Homer as an English Classic : Hiad, translated by Chapman (in ' Universs^ 

Library,' Routledge). Odyssey, translated by William Morris. 


One of the Three Great Masters 

If i^schylus or Sophocles be selected, Plumptre's introductions will be fouD< 
helpful. If Euripides, see Canon Westcott's articles on his religious ideas {Con 
temporary Review, April, 1884; recently republished in book form) — Froude's *Sej 
Studies ' in the third series of his Short Studies, Also, on the whole subject com 
pare S)rmond's Greek Poets* 


Accelerated Rh3rthm : Syl. page i8, sec. 3. 

Action-Plot : Syl. page 26, and page 28, sec. 3. 

Actor : technically called Hypocrites, to be distinguished from the Chorus [Syl. 
pages II and 24] and from Mute personages. Ancient Tragedy admitted 
three or occasionally four speaking 'Actors/ each taking several parts; the 
Protagonist took the principal characters and, where practicable, entered the 
Stage by the large Central Door; next came the Deuteragonist, entering by 
the Right Front, and the Tritagonist by the Left Front Doors respectively. 
[The door on the Left side of the Stage conventionally suggested one entering 
from a distance.] 

Adrasteia or Necessity : see under Destiny, Syl. page 20. 

Agglutination : Syl. page 27. 

Anangk6 or Necessity : see under Destiny, Syl. page 20. 

Anapaest : a metrical foot consisting of a long (or accented) syllable preceded by 
two short (or unaccented) syllables. Compare Syl. page 18, sec. 4. 

Anthesteria : see Festivals. 

Antiphonal Lyrics : Syl. page 18, sec. 6. 

Antistrophe : see Strophic. 

Apo Scenes : see Stage Lyrics. 

Archons : the name for the Magistrates of Athens. 

Areopagus, or Mars Hill : the seat in Athens of an Aristocratic Court of Justice. 
(Ulns. page 32.) 

Arion : Syl. page 9. 

Artemis : the correct Greek name of the divinity often (wrongly) called in Eng- 
lish 'Diana.' 

At6 : Syl. page 21 ; lUns. page 31, etc. 

Augury : Syl. page 21. ^ 

Bacchus : one amongst the numerous names of Dion3rsQs. 

Ballad-Dance : the ultimate form of literature, in which Poetry appears in combi- 
nation with Music and Imitative Gesture. [Syl. page 8. See also Genea- 
logical Table page 12.] These three elements are reflected in the three main 
divisions of poetry when fully differentiated: ^>{V (= Speech) is the freest 
from the original Music and Gesture, and therefore suited to narrative ; Lyru 
retains longest the influence of Music [hence its elaborate metres, devices of 
repetition, such as stanzas, burdens, etc.] ; Dramatic [= imitative Poetry] is 
poetry acted. 

Blank Verse : the term may be applied to that kind of verse in any language 
which most nearly approaches Prose. In Greek Tragedy this is the lanAic 
Senarius (i. e. line consisting of six Iambs ; English Blank Verse contains five 
only). Syl. page 11, sec. 4; and page 18. 

Bromian : one of the numerous names for ' Dionysian.* 

Burlesque : see Satyric Drama. 



Change of Scene ! lUns. pages 29, 32. See Syl. page 23, sec. (a). I 

Cluroni Steps of ; Syl. page 24 (a). I 

Choral Ode or Stasimon : terms applied to the most strictly Lyric portions of the 
performance of the Chorus, separating the Dramatic Episodes. The Choralj 
Ode is strictly Strophic; and is thus distinguished (i) from the part thej 
Chorus take in the Dramatic Episodes ; (2) from the Pazode, (or Entrance- 
song) and Bzode (Exit-Song or Finale). The former includes everything 
between the first appearance of the Chorus in the Orchestra and their first 
Choral Ode ; it is usually Lyric, but may include Dramatic Dialogue. The 
Exode is applied to all that follows the last Choral Ode. Examples in the 
Book of Illustrations : Parode page 5; Stasimon, page 10 ; Ezode* page 16. 
— ^Note. The Ode that is continuous with the Parode is in the Book of Illus- 
trations called Entry-Ode ; the others Choral Interlude. 

Choregi : Syl. page 24 (d). 

Chorus : originally one variety of Ballad-Dance [Syl. bottom of page 9, and Gene- 
alogical Table on page 12]. As an element in Tragedy, see Syl. pages 5-6, 
8-12, I4-I5» 16-19, 23. 

Chorus-Sntry or Parode : see Choral Ode. 

Cithara, or Lyre : a stringed instrument. Syl. bottom of page. 9. 

Commos [or Kommos] : see Stage Lyrics. Example in Illustrations, page 22. 

Complication and Resolution : Syl. page 26. 

Comus : originally one variety of Ballad-Dance ; Syl. bottom of page 9. See also 
Genealogical Table, page 12. 

Concerto (Lyric) or Kommos : Syl. bottom of page 17. 

Conventionality : Syl. page 24, sec. {c) and 25, sec. (d), 

Corjrphsus : the leader of the Chorus who spoke for the whole band during the 
Dramatic Episodes. [Syl. bottom of page ii : compare page 14.] 

Cothurnus : Syl. page 24 (b). 

Deus ex machina : see Divine Intervention. 

Deuteragonist : see Actor. 

Diana : the name often (but wrongly) given to the Greek divinity * Artemis.* 

Dik6 or Justice : Syl. page 20. 

Dionysia : see Festivals. 

Dionysus : more familiarly called ' Bacchus.* 

Dissimulation: Illns. page 60. 

Dithyramb : the variety of Ballad-Dance used in Dionysic Worship ; Syl. page 9. 

Divine Intervention : Book of Illustrations, page 51. Compare Syl. page 26. 

Doric: to the Doric race belonged most of the Aristocra^c States in Ancient 
Greece. They cultivated the worship of Apollo and the Chorus. 

Eccyclema: see Roller-Stage. 

Epic : Speech or Narrative poetry, one of the main offshoots from the original 
Ballad-Dance. See Syl. bottom of page 8 and Table on page I2. For influ- 
ence on Tragedy see page 11, sec. 3, and bottom of page 25. 

Episode : the technical term for the acted scenes of the Ancient Drama ; Syl. pages 
11,6-8; Illns. page 9, etc. [See Structure.] 

Epode : see Strophic. 

Erinnyes ; otherwise called * Gentle Goddesses,' * Furies,' * Eumenides.' Syl. page 
21 ; Illns. pages 27-33, and No. 12, page 85. 


Enmenides : see Erinnyes. 

Ezarchus : the leader or fugleman of a Chorus, later called Coryphsus ; Syl. 
page II, sec. 2. 

Exodus or Ezode : see Choral Ode. 

Festivals of Dionysus at Athens marked the four winter months. December : 
the Lesser or Rural Dionysia : a Vintage Festival, specially associated with 
the origin of Comedy. — ^January : the Lensa : a Festival of the Wine Press, 
associated with both Tragedy and Comedy. — February : the Anthesteria or 
Opening of the Wine Casks, connected with dramatic rehearsals. — March : 
the Greater or City Dionysia : beginning of spring and reopening of naviga- 
tion : connected with Comedy and Tragedy. 

Finale : another name for Exodus. 

Forensic Contest : Syl. page 25, sec. (c). 

Fortune : see under Destiny, Syl. page 20. 

Furies : see Erinnyes. 

Gentle Goddesses : a translation of * Eumenides,' the name given euphemistically 
to the 'Furies,' or * Erinnyes.' See play of that name in Book of lUns. 

Gnomic Verses : Syl. page 25 (d). 

Hemicyclium : a machine for changing scenery on the Greek Stage ; Illns. bottom 
of page 75. 

Hera or Her6 : the correct name of the Greek divinity often called in English 

Heracles : the correct Greek name of the divinity usually called * Hercules.' 

Hybris : the Greek term for Infatuation. 

Hypocrites : technical term for Actor. 

Iamb : a metrical foot consisting of a short syllable followed by a long ; see Blank 

Idealization of Life : Syl. page 22. 
Infatuation: Syl. page 20. 
Irony : Syl. page 25 (b). 
Judicial Blindness or Infatuation : Syl. page 20. 

Juno : a name commonly (but wrongly) given in English to the Greek divinity 

* Hera.' 

Kommos or Commos : see Concerto. 

Lensa : see Festivals. 

Lyric: see Ballad-Dance. 

L3rric Concerto : see Concerto. 

Lyric Solo : see Moqpdy. 

Lyric Tragedy : Syl. page 10 ; and the Genealogical Table on page 12. 

llachina: machinery for representing a deity, etc., as if appearing in mid-air. 
[Syl. page 24 (a). Illns. page 78 and bottom of page 81. J 

Uarching Rhythm : Syl. page 18, sec 4. 

Masks : Syl. page 24 (b) (c), 25 (c). 

Mercury : a name often (but wrongly) given in English to the Greek divinity 

* Hermes.' 

Mesode: see Strophic. 

Messenger's Speech : Syl. bottom of page 25. Book of Illustrations, page 47. 


Minerva : a name often (but wrongly) given in English to the Greek divinil 
* Pallas ' or * Athene.' 

Mixed Verse : Syl. page i8, sec. 8. 

Monody : Syl. bottom of page 17 ; lUns. page 34 ; and see Stage Lyrics. 

Motives : in Dramatic Art, are ideas or interests which give impulse to, or inspin 
or carry forward a story. Compare Syl. page 20, 

Multiple Action : Syl. page 27. 

Necessity : Syl. page 20. 

Nemesis : Syl. page 20. 

Ode : etymologically means song [appears in Tragedy and Comedy'}. Applied t 
strict Lyric poetry. [Syl. page 10; pages 16-17.] 

Omen : Syl. page 21. 

Oracles: Syl. page 21. 

Orchestra : technically applied to a space enclosed for Choral performances. Ii 
the theatre it was in the front of the stage, and several feet lower ; it hac 
entrances, Parodi, on both sides, and the Altar of Dionysus orThymele in the 
centre. When not performing Choral evolutions the Chorus stood between the 
Thymele and the Stage. Syl. pages, 9, 10, 24(a); compare bottom of page 1 1 

Pallas : the correct name of the Greek divinity often (but wrongly) called in Eng- 
lish * Minerva.* 

Parallel or Stichomuthic verse : Syl. page 18, sec. 2. 

Parode or Parodus . see Choral Ode. 

Parodi : see Orchestra. 

Passion-Plot : Syl. page 26. 

Pendulum Plot : Syl. page 26. 

Periacti: machinery by which the side scenes were changed. [Syl. page 24 (a). 
lUns. page 29.] 

Proem : see Strophic. 

Prologue : technically includes everything that precedes the first appearance of' 
the Chorus in the Orchestra [Illns. page 5]. This in some cases amounts to a' 
lengthy scene [Illns. pages 52-3 ; pages 27-30]. See Structure. i 

Prophecy: Syl. page 21. I 

Proscenium : see Stage. I 

Protagonist : see Actor. 

Rationalism: Syl. page 21. 

Realism : a term of art used in antithesis to ' Idealism.' The first produces efifecl 
by nearness to, the latter by distance from, ordinary experience. 

Resolution : Syl. page 26, sec. 2. ^ 

Rhabduci: Syl. page 11, sec. 3. 

Rhapsodist : another name for Rhabduci. 

Rhesis : Syl. page 25. 

Rhetoric : Syl. page 25. 

Roller-Stage or Eccyclema : machinery for suddenly displaying an interior. SyL 
page 24 (a). Illustrations, pages 17, 50. 

Satire: Syl. page 12. 

Sat3rr: Syl. pages 9, 10 ; compare top of page 28. 

Satyric Drama : Syl. page 28. 


Scene : see Stage. 

Secondary Chorus : Syl. page 24 (e). 

Semichorus : Syl. bottom of page 10; compare page 18, sec. 7; and Illustrations 
page 22. 

Senarius Iambic : see Blank Verse. 

Solo (Lyric) or Monody : see Stage Lyrics. 

Soothsaying: Syl. page 21. 

Stage : Syl. page 11, sec. 3. The back of the stage [a Stone Palace where not 
disguised by movable scenery] is called Scene ; all in front is Proscenium, 
and the sloping wings, on which were the movable side scenes, Parascenia. 
Syl. 24 (a). See also Actor. 

Stage-Episode : Ulns. page 64, note. 

Stage Lyrics or Lyrics Apo Scenes: Syl. page 6, sec. i ; and bottom of page 17. 
Varieties of these were the Monody, a lyric Solo by an Actor [lUns. page 34] ; 
the Commos (strictly a Dirge, but used more widely) in which an Actor and 
the Chorus(or a portion of them) join [lUns. pages 22, 34]. 

Stasimon : see Choral Ode. 

Stichomnthic : Syl. page 18, sec. 2 ; compare page 25. Ulns. pages 43, 69-70. 

Strophic : a term applied to the arrangement of stanzas in Ancient Lyric poetry. 
The stanzas were not, as with us, uniform, but ran in pairs. Strophe and 
Antistrophe, the rhythm, music, and evolutions of an Antistrophe exactly 
repeating those of the corresponding Strophe. The name is derived from 
S/ropAe=tuTnmg : the evolution of a Strophe took the Chorus from the Thymele 
to one end of the Orchestra; in the Antistrophe they worked back to the 
Thymele again. An odd stanza, performed round the Thymele, was an 
Epode if at the end, a Mesode if in the middle of an Ode. [Ulns. pages 7-9; 

ftage 30]. A Proem, or Prelude, was Strophic, but in a less marked manner 
Ulns. page 6 J. See SyL, bottom of page 9. 

Structure. The technical structure of a tragedy is as follows : The Prologue 
includes all previous to the first appearance of the Chorus in the Orchestra. — 
The Parode or Chorus-Entry is the part spoken by the Chorus in entering 
the Orchestra until they either proceed to a Choral Ode, or join in an Epi- 
sode. — The Choral Ode or Stasimon, is performed by the Chorus only in the 
Orchestra, there being no action at the time on the stage. — Episode is the 
technical name for a dramatic scene upon the stage, the Chorus being present 
in the Orchestra, and taking part in the dialogue through their * coryphaeus' 
or foreman. The bulk of the play is made up of Choral Odes and Episodes 
alternating with one another : the Ode continuous with the Parode is in the 
Book of Illustrations called Entry-Ode : the others Choral Interludes. — All 
that goes on between the last Choral Ode and the end of the Play is called 
Exodus or Exodf [or Finale in modem phraseology]. 

Theatre: Syl. pages 23-24. 

Thespis : Syl. page 11, sec. 3. 

Th3rmele : see Orchestra. 

Thyrsos : a staff used in Bacchic revels. 

Tragi : another name for Satyrs : Syl. page 10. 

Trilogy, or Three-Play Drama. Tragedies were always brought out in sets of 
three, called * trilogies ' : under iEschylus the three were made continuous. See 
Ulns. page 3. After his time the term was still used, but the three plays of a 
trilogy had no connection with one another. — A fourth play, of the kind called 
Satyric Drama, concluded each set. See Ulns. page 72 and Syl. page 28. 



Xritagonist : see Actor. 

Trochee : a metrical foot made up of a long (or accented) syllable, followed bj 
a short (or unaccented) syllable. A system of metre in which trochees are tb] 

f prevailing feature is called by the name of Trochaics : Syl. page 1 8, sec. i 
Illustrations, page 53, lines 89-91.] 

Underplot : Syl. pages 27 (b). 

Unities of Time, Place, Action : Syl. page 5, sec. II.; 6, sec. 2 ; 23 ; 27. 



In this course Students are advised to spend their time in read- 
ing the plays themselves rather than in reading about them. 

The Syllabus is made full in order to serve as a text-book to the 
course : it is further accompanied by a special Book of Illustrations 
1(87 pages, price 25c.), containing condensations of the plays taken 
for recital, with copious extracts and descriptions. It is quite prac- 
ticable to follow the course intelligently with no further assistance 
than the Syllabus and Book of Illustrations. 

A fuller text-book of the general subject has been written by the 
lecturer : The Ancient Classical Drama (Macmillan, $2.25). 

The translations used in the lectures are : Plumptre's yEschylus 
and Sophocles (price, by special arrangement at the University Press, 
I1.20 each), and Euripides in Routledge's Universal Library (three 
volumes, 40c. each: only volumes 54 and 58 are needed for this 

Other works are ; 



Donaldson's Theatre of the Greek (Bohn, $1.50) or Haigh*s 

Theatre (Macmillan, $3.00). \ 

Keightley's Mythology (Bohn, $1.50) or some dictic 

Translations of special plays : Morshead's House o' 
(Edipus King (Kegan Paul).